Presentation Title

Connection Between Neural Chemistry Personality Formation and Normative Ethic Choice

Advisor Information

Laura Grams

Location

UNO Criss Library, Room 232

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Start Date

3-3-2017 11:00 AM

End Date

3-3-2017 11:15 AM

Abstract

Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher studies the connections between neural chemistry and personality (see “Neural Correlates of Four Broad Temperament Dimensions: Testing Predictions for a Novel Construct of Personality”). Her research has uncovered evidence concerning how four major brain chemicals of dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen play a role in forming an individual’s personality. The purpose of this FUSE research was to explore the possibility that these connections inform how we become attached to a certain normative ethical theory. Do brain-based personality differences make us more likely to choose a certain theory or consider it the best approach? To investigate this issue, I analyzed works written by ethicists from the major schools of normative ethics (i.e. consequentialists, utilitarians, virtue ethicists, care ethicists, deontologists, and divine command theorists). My analysis consisted of searching for features related to the four personality types Fisher identifies in the language, motivations, and overall style of thinking offered by each of these approaches to normative theory. I found that the testosterone-dominated personality would most likely identify with the consequentialist and utilitarian view, the estrogen-dominated with virtue ethics or ethics of care, and the serotonin-dominated with deontological ethics or divine command theory. There are no clear connections between those who score highly on the dopamine scale and a particular normative theory. Overall, I do not believe there is enough evidence to support pursuing empirical study; however, it is important to understand our personal differences to improve the dialogue around contentious issues such as ethics.

COinS
 
Mar 3rd, 11:00 AM Mar 3rd, 11:15 AM

Connection Between Neural Chemistry Personality Formation and Normative Ethic Choice

UNO Criss Library, Room 232

Biological anthropologist Helen Fisher studies the connections between neural chemistry and personality (see “Neural Correlates of Four Broad Temperament Dimensions: Testing Predictions for a Novel Construct of Personality”). Her research has uncovered evidence concerning how four major brain chemicals of dopamine, serotonin, testosterone, and estrogen play a role in forming an individual’s personality. The purpose of this FUSE research was to explore the possibility that these connections inform how we become attached to a certain normative ethical theory. Do brain-based personality differences make us more likely to choose a certain theory or consider it the best approach? To investigate this issue, I analyzed works written by ethicists from the major schools of normative ethics (i.e. consequentialists, utilitarians, virtue ethicists, care ethicists, deontologists, and divine command theorists). My analysis consisted of searching for features related to the four personality types Fisher identifies in the language, motivations, and overall style of thinking offered by each of these approaches to normative theory. I found that the testosterone-dominated personality would most likely identify with the consequentialist and utilitarian view, the estrogen-dominated with virtue ethics or ethics of care, and the serotonin-dominated with deontological ethics or divine command theory. There are no clear connections between those who score highly on the dopamine scale and a particular normative theory. Overall, I do not believe there is enough evidence to support pursuing empirical study; however, it is important to understand our personal differences to improve the dialogue around contentious issues such as ethics.